The Vulgarities of "Star Trek: Picard" Are No Match for the Eloquent Conversations on "Star Trek: The Original Series"

Herbie J Pilato

"We've learned not to fear words."

So says Lt. Uhura, as portrayed by Nichelle Nicholas, in the third season episode, "The Savage Curtain" of Star Trek: The Original Series.

As an African-American member of the Starfleet intergalactic Federation of Planets, she's responding with a cool, calm, and elegant demeanor to an apology by a fabricated Abraham Lincoln played by Lee Bergere, who feels he may have misspoken.

Uhura's reply is an ironic one on several levels. Firstly, she's rising above whatever unintended racial slur Lincoln believes he may have said. Secondly, her words of response in the form of dialogue, written by Arthur Hienman and Arthur H. Singer for this episode, are so very eloquent and sadly, would be so out of place in the third (or any season) of Star Trek: Picard...or any recent incarnation of the sci-fi franchise that initially sprang from the genius mind of Gene Roddenberry.

While the third season of Star Trek: Picard far surpasses the previous two seasons of the show (as well as any season of Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Lower Decks, and even the slightly-superior Star Trek: Strange New Worlds), Sir Patrick Stewart's revamped series centering around his most famous role is still lacking in the way of sophisticated writing.

And that's only because Picard's showrunners, and the core production team members of all the new Treks, are so blatantly intent on utilizing street language and thug talk if only to appear cool. All the while, Sir Patrick, a classically trained, educated, and sophisticated human being, endorses it all.

In a recent interview with TheWrap, Stewart addressed having what he viewed as an opportunity to drop a certain four-letter word during Picard Season 3, displaying the edgier, read, "hipper," carnation of Picard. The actor heralded the decision to include the term, which he claimed was improvised in the final cut.

"I am told that I even used, and it made its way into an episode, the F-word," Stewart said. "It was an ad-lib. But that’s just one example of the freedom that all of us began to feel -- that we could expose ourselves and expose the characters in human ways that were not necessarily 'series TV.' I find that in so much of what I watch these days. And I applaud it."

What an unfortunate development and commentary, literally, across not only the big-picture scheme of things, not just for the entirety of the Trek franchise but for such a well-bred and refined individual such as Sir Patrick Stewart.

Acclaimed writer Susan Sackett, who was once Gene Roddenberry's secretary, recently had this to say about the language barriers in the ever-developing Trek universe and beyond; noting in particular what Roddenberry himself would have thought about the situation:

"Foul language is so overdone lately. I watch shows like Ted Lasso and Barry and find the abundant use of the F-word annoying and unnecessary. It is jarring to hear it coming from our wonderful; Next Gen crew. What the writers are doing in many of these shows is trying to be cool and 'with it.' But a little (a very little) goes a long way. After a while, you just become inured to hearing it, and that's not beneficial. I do think Gene would object to the abundance of foul language, although a curse word now and then wouldn't bother him. If I stub my toe, for example, I'm liable to scream, "F...!" several times, even if no one is around! It's a bad habit I've picked up from those around me occasionally. But as I said, it is overused, very 21st century, and certainly an anachronism by the 24th century."

And there you have it.

[Note: Unless otherwise indicated, certain facts and information in this article were resourced from various entertainment news and media outlets including, and Susan Sacket's commentary was given directly to the author.]

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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